Should you be tipping in Spain? You are traveling around Spain and of course enjoying plenty of offered services which come along with travel. If you are coming from the US or another country which customarily tips for service, you may be a little perplexed when you are in Spain. I bet tipping in Spain is a bit different from what you are accustomed to. So, do you tip in Spain? Keep on reading our Spain Tipping Guide!
Okay let’s talk all about tipping in Spain! Do you tip in Spain?
First of all, I have numerous years working in the service industry in the US. For many years tips were what I had to live off of, as I was only paid minimum wage for my job. I have a soft spot for tipping, but also believe in doing what the locals do. When you are in a foreign land, it is best to try to follow the local customs, when possible. I have also been avoiding this topic, as it really comes down to personal opinions. This is often something we are asked, so it is easier to just write something up.
We have lived in Spain for more than 5 years in the southern part of Spain and have many Spanish friends, as well as expatriate friends. In this post, we have compiled our list of information from the people we know, the experiences we have had, as well as information from several tipping in Spain articles. All of the articles are listed below in the Spain tipping reference section. Do you tip in Spain? It depends.
Spain Tipping – How much do you tip in Spain?
That’s the big question, how much to tip in Spain. The answer to that question all depends on what service you are receiving and possible where you are located. If you are in a tourist area, it may be expected from you simply because you are American or from a country which customarily tips. If you are in a bigger city like Barcelona or Madrid, tipping may be more customary due to all of the tourists and constant flow of people. That said, it doesn’t mean you are supposed to tip!
Tipping in Spain is entirely optional and it’s not very common in some areas or small villages. You may see people leaving small change at cafés and bars and possibly someone tipping more at a nice expensive restaurant. If tipping is a regular custom for you and you feel that the situation deserves it, your tip will be kindly appreciated. After all it is always nice to be the recipient of something a little extra, one euro to you may not mean much, but to someone else it is a cup of coffee or bag of beans!
Guide to Tipping in Spain
This is our understood version and Spain tipping guide for you. It is what we have come to learn from our town in southern Spain, as well as our travels all around the country. In just about every Spanish class we have taken the topic of tipping in Spain comes up and this Spain tipping guide also reflects that information. It is information mostly from locals and our Spanish teachers, with a little input from other foreigners.
tipping in a café / Bar / pub
No tip is expected for a cup of coffee or a drink, although some people will leave the change rounding up from the nearest Euro. It you are in a late-night bar or pub, it isn’t common to tip. In Spain you mostly pay for your drinks up front, not at the end of the night.
Tipping in a Tapas/Sandwich bar
For tapas or a sandwich in a bar, the change from the nearest Euro is sufficient. There is no need for any crazy calculations, just a little change is fine. If your bill was about 8.20€, just round-up to 9€. Yes, this is considered tipping in Spain, but you are really just leaving the loose change.
Tipping in Spain Restaurants
Restaurant tipping in Spain is 5% – 10% maximum and is much appreciated, although tipping is only done if you are happy with the service. If you are served by a number of waiters/waitresses then you are usually not expected to leave a tip, however if you are served by only one for the duration of your meal then you may want to leave a tip. For a sit-down lunch or dinner that might come to around 20 euros, a one or two euro tip is more than enough, and is also considered standard.
For high-end or Michelin star restaurants tipping is likely more expected, a 10% tip is standard. If you pay by credit card it is preferable to leave a cash tip, because the wait staff often does not receive the tips left on credit cards. Also most credit cards machines in Europe print up the amount entered and do not have a line item to add a tip, so if you decide you want to include the tip on your credit card, you need to tell them in advance. This way they can add it to the total they enter.
The Final Word Do you tip in Spain?
The bottom line about tipping in Spain? Do what you feel is right. The Spanish do not generally leave tips for just drinks and they do not feel compelled to always leave a tip for basic food. If they do, it isn’t as much as in other countries. You can always think about what you can afford to give as a tip in Spain and then how the recipient will feel when they receive it.
Check out our post on everything you need to know to visit Spain!
Additional Tipping In Spain References:
These reference cover in more detail if you should be tipping your tour guide, tipping the taxi driving, tipping the hotel maids, tipping the bell hop, tipping the shuttle driver and more!
- Totally Spain Travel – A thorough guide for you including hair dressers, restaurants, transport, hotels, deliveries, tour guides, and more.
- The Madrid Traveler with 20+yrs in Spain – Their views on tipping in the big cities.
- Auto Europe covers Tipping in Spain – restaurants, taxis, hotels and more.
- Who to Tip covers restaurants, tour guides, bars and more.
- The Guardian – Tips on Tipping around the world, including Spain.
- Epicurean Ways – travel tips for Portugal and Spain
- Smart Traveler – shares info from bell hops to cleaners and restaurants to taxis.
- Trip Savvy – they did a survey from locals and it is just as all of the others say.
Of course talking about tipping is a controversial topic and it really does come down to what you want to do. Feel free to comment and let us know your opinion.
Thinking of Moving to Spain?
Alan has written a very thorough e-book, Live in Spain, which walks you, step by step, through the entire process of the non lucrative visa requirements and the Spain retirement visa requirements. It is full of tips and tools to help you and a matrix with spells out the special things for each Spanish consulate in the USA. It also provides you with a checklist to make sure all of the organization and timing of documents in on target. We have helped hundreds of families, couples and singles successfully move to Spain!
We also have a book to help you prepare for your move and getting settled once you arrive! Getting Settled In Spain
- How to move to Spain
- How Much Did It Cost To Live In Spain For 1 Year?
- How to estimate the cost of living.
- Preparing For Your Move Abroad